Trevor Francis declared Newcastle United "worthy winners" as they sent Crystal Palace crashing out of the FA Cup on Saturday.

Goals from Magpies captain Alan Shearer and substitute Clarence Acuna sealed the third round victory for the home side, but Palace boss Francis was pleased with his side's efforts against the Tynesiders.

However, he was less than happy about the free-kick decision which saw the Magpies take the lead on 40 minutes. A fierce strike from Olivier Bernard hit defender Tony Popovic, and referee Mike Riley gave the kick 18 yards out. The ball was rolled to Shearer, whose blast ripped through the Palace wall and past the dive of keeper Alex Kolinko.

But Francis fumed: "The ball struck Tony on the chest, and there's a big red mark there where it hit him."

And Palace suffered further at the hands of the officials in the second half, when Clinton Morrison's chip over keeper Shay Given was ruled offside, even though TV replays showed he was a yard on. The Eagles manager added: "Clinton was absolutely convinced it was onside."

But the home side sealed the points when Jovan Kirovski was robbed of possession just outside the Palace box halfway through the second period, and Acuna stormed through the centre to score off the crossbar. It sealed a good win for United, who dominated Palace in the second half with superior possession and passing, but Palace were left wondering what might have been. They had even had the chance to take the lead on three minutes, when Julian Gray's cross found Aki Riihilahti in the centre, but the Finn shot straight at Given.

Even Francis had to concede that the Premier League side had the upper hand, commenting: "What strikes you more than anything is the pace in the side all over the field. It's very difficult for defenders to deal with that kind of pace, especially from Craig Bellamy."

But he was pleased with the efforts of his side, and especially goalkeeper Kolinko. The Latvian made a string of great stops, including one incredible effort to deny Bernard, running back into his goal from the corner flag after tangling with Bellamy then diving at full stretch to get his fingers to the strike.

Francis said: "He's played very well since Matt Clarke's been out injured. He's unorthodox at times, but he's a fantastic shot stopper. I don't know what rush of blood' is in Latvian but he rectified his mistake by saving that shot, which looked like a goal from the moment it left Bernard's foot."

His opposite number Bobby Robson, who once dropped Francis as a player when he was England boss, said he was "delighted" with his team's performance, and added: "We worked very hard and there was nobody standing around. It was a good rousing performance, and they deserved the victory."

The former England manager had some praise for Palace keeper Kolinko and striker Morrison. Of Kolinko's super save, he said: "That was save of the century, I think! From the outside left position to get back into his goal was amazing." And of Morrison's chip over Given he commented "What a finish that boy made" before adding with a chuckle: "I might buy him!"